Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and
sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future. ~Bill Gates
Update on Loving Local Meals from Rising Tide Co-op General Manager, Heather Burt
June 1, 2021
I am truly stunned that it is already June 2021. My mind is struggling to process everything that has happened since mid-March 2020 with so much change, trauma, and transformation. If you are like so many other people that I speak with, this is a common challenge.
In this last month, we have had some pauses and maybe some ends to important work that was started as a way to help address some of the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Most importantly, we recently decided to take a hiatus from producing Loving Local Meals. After 14 months, and over 16,000 meals cooked, packaged, and delivered to six different Lincoln County food pantries, we decided that we needed to take a break. We were to the point of making 400 meals per week and, with a shortage of staff in the store, it became apparent that the prudent choice, for now, would be to pause our meal production. In making this difficult decision, we considered the pandemic-related government stimulus and the extension of SNAP and other benefits, supports for our neighbors that were not available before.
The over $50,000 we raised for Loving Local Meals, as a result of your support, has been used to purchase ingredients from 19 local farmers and producers over the last year. The remaining funds will continue to be used to support food pantries with the purchase of local products. Rising Tide has supported food pantries for many years. As a result of Loving Local Meals, our partnerships with the pantries and other organizations in our community are stronger and more productive. Open lines of communication mean that we can direct our support in ways that are more useful and provide our community with the items that best meet their needs.
Rising Tide was extremely fortunate to work with a strong and talented group of volunteers, many of whom are willing to return and help again. Going forward, we are considering ways we can offer this important service using an updated and sustainable model. In the meantime, we will continue to collaborate with Lincoln County organizations to find solutions to food insecurity in our community, always offering our unique perspective and expertise as strong proponents of the local food economy.
I am grateful for all the contributions our community made to support Loving Local Meals, financially and through the generous offerings of time, products, and creativity. Loving Local Meals has proven itself to be a dynamic program that brings people together to create solutions. We will keep you posted about the program and opportunities to get involved.
Have a wonderful summer full of fresh, local food!
This is what the Loving Local Meals Program is all about and we need your ongoing support. Since April, with the financial and volunteer support of individuals in our community, Rising Tide has provided 10,000 meals to food pantries in Boothbay, New Harbor, Jefferson, Somerville, Waldoboro, and Wiscasset. The vision for this innovative program has been to provide our community members in need with food that is sourced from small local producers as much as possible. This is the work that builds a food-secure foundation for the future. Local producers provide for us year-round and we need to support and expand their capacity going forward.
Since the start, the Loving Local Meals Program has procured an additional $14,000 in local ingredients above and beyond the purchasing that Rising Tide Co-op already does for our retail sales. These additional purchases help bolster the local food economy, further investment in food security for all of us who live here in Lincoln County and in Maine.
We are writing now in hopes of gaining your additional financial support as we go into the cold winter months. This is a time when people may be forced to choose between heating fuel and food. Rising Tide’s community can help feed our neighbors while simultaneously adding money to the local food economy. Not only are we addressing an immediate need, but we are helping lead the way to a long-term solution. We hope you will continue to support this effort.
Rising Tide Co-op is not a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, so donations are not tax-deductible, but 100% of what you donate is going directly into the Loving Local Meals Program. At the cash register, you can “round-up” your purchase or make a larger donation as part of your sales transaction, or you can mail a check directly to the store. If you purchase through our Curbside Service, you can mark your donation on the online form. Every little bit helps.
Please reach out with questions or to let me know if you would like to be involved. My special thanks go out to: Morning Dew Farm for their partnership in donating a portion of their greens to the Meals and their patrons’ ongoing philanthropy as we go forward; Elizabeth Perreault, our unflappable Volunteer Coordinator; the many volunteers who help make, pack, and deliver the meals — we couldn’t have continued to do this without you; and, to our Prepared Foods Manager, John Reed, for his dedication to making healthy, locally-sourced dinners to distribute every week. I am also grateful for donations from Hootenanny, Veggies to Table, Lincoln County Gleaners, Goranson’s Farm, Twin Villages Food Bank Farm, and from Kinnealey Meats (a Massachusetts company and very generous). In addition, there have been the many beautiful local vegetables, meats, and cheeses that the Loving Local Meals Program has purchased and used to create healthy, inspiring meals. Thank you, growers, producers, and fishermen who make this Program possible. Everyone deserves food that is fresh and wholesome, and we take great pride in delivering your products. Also, thank you to the food pantries and participants. Your feedback and gratitude along the way have meant a lot as we all try to find ways to give back during these times. Finally, thank you to everyone who has given financially and through their time and contributions of products. This is truly a team effort!
In gratitude and awe,
If you have any questions or would like more information on Loving Local Meals, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Rising Tide is not a non-profit, however, all contributions people have made through the store are going directly into the ingredients and packaging for these meals. Thank you for your generosity.